Foundation 101

One of the  most common questions I get asked from clients and friends is “how I do find the right foundation for my skin type?” Finding the right foundation to suit your skin type can be a very expensive process. You try one, it doesn’t work, you buy another, and so on and so forth.

Understanding the ingredients in your makeup is very important, cosmetic companies don’t expect the average consumer to do this, but as a makeup artist we have to. Understanding our clients’ skin types is important so that we know what products to use and which to avoid. So having said that, asking your makeup artist is probably the smartest thing to do 🙂

Generally speaking, there are 3 kinds of skin types: oily, dry and normal/combination. Coincidentally, there are also 3 types of liquid foundations: oil-based, water-based and silicon-based.

Depending on your skin type, there is a foundation that will work best on you. If you suffer from oily skin, you probably don’t want to choose a water-based foundation. Have you ever tried to mix water and oil together? They don’t emulsify, and that’s what happens on your skin. Look for an oil-free, silicon based foundation with mattifying agents, such as the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation or the Becca Ever Matte Shine Proof Foundation.

Dry skin is actually quite tricky, because in order to make your foundation last, you must first attend to the dryness in your skin. So that means intense moisturizers and treatments. The best thing to do here is check the ingredients in your pre-makeup skincare. Just as foundations are silicone and water based, as are our moisturizers. Always use like ingredients in both your skincare and makeup to ensure the products work well together on your face. Oil is your friend if you suffer from dry skin. Try using the Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer or the Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment paired with the 100% Argan Oil at night and the Argan Tinted Moisturizer for the day.

Combination skin needs a more “targeted” approach. If you have an oily T-zone but the rest of your skin is fairly normal then you would want to approach the “oily” areas with a mattifier (such as Makeup Forever All Mat) and then resume on with your makeup application. Combination skin could do well with a silicon-based foundation with or without the mattifiers, it would simply depend on the overall finish that you prefer.

When buying a foundation always check the ingredients. Almost all foundations, regardless of what they are, will have water listed as one of the first ingredients. That doesn’t mean that they are all water-based foundations. Rather that foundations all need water in order to make them liquid and easy to apply.

Ingredients are always listed in order of concentration, from the most to least. So water will likely always be in the first five ingredients of every foundation. To tell if your foundation is silicone based, first look for words ending in “cone” and “xane” such as Dimethicone and Vinyl Dimethicone. There are other ingredients that are used in silicone-based formulas as well that you should be looking for and those are Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane and Phenyl Trimethicone.

For oil based foundations, you are looking for ingredients that are oils and extracts such as Lanolin Oil and Glycerides.

You may come across some of these words toward the end of the ingredients list, but that just means that it has been used in very little concentration.

To make your foundation shopping a little easier here is a list of most foundations available at Sephora and what category they fall under.

Follow this Google Docs link to view the list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12TT6gMT0y1Wc37-s49NGnHyzsCBHPrfjfNslU7sbJlI/edit#gid=0

I’ve read many (and really I mean ALL) beauty blogs and makeup reviews out there, and 80% of them are incorrect and contradictory to one another. Mainly because a lot of them aren’t written by actual Makeup Artists. Especially the ones done by “Beauty Editors” for big name magazines. So don’t just believe everything you read. Do your own research and read the ingredients for yourself. It’s usually the first 5 ingredients of a foundation that will tell you what it is primarily made up of. A lot of foundations may even be a good mix of silicone-water. So always get a sample first to try it out on your skin before committing to the entire bottle.

If you don’t see your foundation listed above leave a comment below and I can try to help you figure out what it is.

If you’re unsure of what kind of Foundation you should be using check out my post “Liquid, Cream or Powder” to learn more about the different forms of foundations.

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